VeganMoFo: Terre a Terre cookbook review
Terre à Terre is, depending on who you listen to, the best vegetarian restaurant in UK.
I did however find the service annoying - I wanted to lean over and poke our waitress in the eye. She radiated an air of smug, 'I'm doing you a favour simply listening to your meal requests. Now you want a coffee? Oh, you terrible bores'-ness that made me growl inside.
While a reasonable conversation to have, the Terre à Terre front of house made me feel like I'd walked in to ask where was the nearest GUM clinic was - gauche, faintly embarrassed and imposing unnecessarily on the good people of Terre à Terre.
Still, when I saw the Terre à Terre cookbook on the shelves of Waterstones, I couldn't resist buying it. Damn you, Terre à Terre, you've bashed my wallet again.
It's food porn of the highest order - big, glossy pics, elaborately-named dishes and appealing descriptions.
It was still months before I actually got around to cooking from it, mind.
All the fuss. Every recipe involved making three or four separate dishes - it seemed so much work and fannying around. I left the book on the shelf.
Now with Vegan Mofo looming, I took it out again and dived in. I'm too lazy to make the raft of elements in a Terre à Terre meal, but I can make some of them, and some of them I did.
I made the turtles bean soup, guacamole and tostones from Turtles and Tostones. It was wonderful. I made the soup again. It was wonderful again. Guess what? I'm going to make it again.
I managed three out of four before I gave up. It wasn't the nicest recipe I'd made from the book - the socca themselves were a bit bland - but the tapenade was brilliant.
The Terre à Terre can tend towards the fussy, and so seem a bit of a stretch for me as a home cook. But if you break them down into their component parts, and maybe cook just a couple of them, you'll find it's worth the trouble.